Several churches have chosen to sever their ties with the United Methodist Church, fueling ongoing discussion about homosexuality. A total of 35 churches in Arkansas and more across the nation have sever their ties to the United Methodist Church. Fayetteville's Central United Methodist Church
Arkansas is the latest to split, with the largest congregation dividing into three groups. The main congregation will remain in the building and have a more progressive theology and a new pastoral staff.
Fayetteville Churches Divided into Three Separate Congregations
According to 4029 News, the on-campus Methodist group, Wesley Ministry, will remain part of Central United, and the current pastoral staff will move and establish a new church called Christ Church. Central United Methodist will provide $500,000 to help Christ Church establish itself.
Genesis Church, a satellite campus of Central, will become an independent, non-denominational church and keep the property it has been using. The Central United Methodist congregation dates back to 1832 and serves as a vote center and a site for community meals.
Another source, Northwest Arkansas, says that Fayetteville's Central United Methodist Church in Arkansas has reached a settlement over its split into three groups. The church will remain part of the United Methodist denomination while a new congregation will be established by the current leadership, called Christ Church.
The senior pastor and other pastoral staff will leave Central to lead Christ Church, which will receive $500,000 in seed money from Central to establish itself. The third congregation will be Genesis Church, which will become an independent, non-denominational church and keep the property it has been using.
The University of Arkansas's Wesley Campus Ministry will continue to play a significant role in Central's ministry initiatives. Genesis Church will be permitted to pay $1 to purchase the property. The differences within the United Methodist Church on homosexuality led to the disaffiliation of numerous congregations, which caused the division.
Also Read: North Carolina Churches File Lawsuit Against United Methodist Church Over Disaffiliation Process
Recent Disaffiliations in the UMC
In the recent story here in Christianity Daily, Asbury United Methodist Church, the largest Methodist congregation in Dane County, Wisconsin, has voted to leave the United Methodist Church due to differences over LGBT leadership and gay marriage. The decision to leave was approved by a 224-76 vote, with two-thirds of those present having to vote in favor of leaving the denomination. The church has experienced a decline in attendance since 2019, with some members no longer attending services due to the church's opposition to gay marriage and gay clergy.
But according to Madison, however, some members who retained their official membership voted to stay with UMC and felt disrespected by the cheers and applause from those who voted to leave. Harold Zimmick, the church's lead pastor, called the situation "heartbreaking and tragic" and expressed his hope that the congregation might continue to celebrate diversity while being unified in Christ. Asbury United Methodist Church is not alone in its disagreement with the Methodist Church's position on homosexuality; numerous congregations around the nation are also dealing with issues of this nature.
Related Article: Asbury Church to Disaffiliate with United Methodist Church Due to Disagreement on LGBTQ+ Inclusion